Before You Say "I Do"

Money and Marraige

It isn’t always easy for couples to talk about money... before or AFTER marraige. Maybe you don't think you have anything to be concerned about because Mr. or Mrs. "Right" seems to be doing quite well financially.  But  just because someone drives a nice car or dresses well doesn’t mean that they are financially stable.  That late model vehicle may have come with a hefty loan and the wardrobe might be financed through credit card debt.

That’s why, if you’re seriously considering getting married, it’s extremely important to talk openly and honestly about each other’s finances. 

Five Key Financial Questions to Discuss Before You Say "I Do"

1) How much debt do you have? The stress of debt increases the likelihood that couples will fight about money.  Furthermore, arguements over money are given as the most common topic of dispute for couples who divorce.  If one person has substantial debt, discuss what happened and why.  Try to get to the root of the problem.  Did it come about through an unusual circumstance or emergency or through lack of self control and overspending?  The key here is to see if the cause of the debt has been addressed.  If not, I strongly recommend that you postpone the wedding until it is addressed.
2) What’s your credit score? Scores range from 300 to 850, and the higher the score, the better.  A score below 700 could indicate a problem.  The most important factor in determining your credit score is paying bills on time. A very low score could indicate a prior bankruptcy or foreclosure.  It may sound very unromantic or just plain intrusive, but sharing your credit reports with each other is actually an act of love and trust. 
3) Do you want to have children and will one of us quit work to care for them? I encourage all couples to live on one income from the beginning of marriage if at all possible.  This is especially important for couples who want to have children and want one parent to stay home with the children.  Are you both in agreement on this and how will you make it a reality?
4) Do you use a budget? Couples who use a budget experience fewer financial disagreements than those that don’t.  Can you both agree that you will operate your household with the use of a budget and can you agree on the amounts for each category in your budget?  I recommend preparing a budget for your first year as husband and wife many months before the wedding date.
5) How much do you give to charitable organizations? If giving generously is a priority for you, does your future spouse share your views?  How much will you agree to give to charitable organizations?

By discussing these things openly and honestly before your marraige, you may prevent some surprises after the honeymoon, and also set a model of communication for your life together.